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LAREDO, Texas — A South Texas man was sentenced to prison for attempting to smuggle thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) working in coordination with the Laredo Police Department’s Texas Anti-Gang Task Force and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Jesus Alberto Olivares, 32, was sentenced July 6 by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who ordered him to serve 75 months in federal prison less than one year after he served a sentence for a drug distribution conspiracy.

While imposing the sentence, Judge Garcia Marmolejo noted there was likely only one purpose for this ammunition: to be delivered into the hands of cartel members in Mexico for their use, including killing people.

“The sentencing of Olivares sends a stern message that those who purchase, transport and facilitate the exporting of ammunition will face the full extent of the law,” said HSI San Antonio acting Special Agent in Charge Alejandro Amaro. “The successful outcome of this case is a direct result of the collaboration with our federal and state partners to prevent the ammunition from falling into the hands of transitional criminal organizations that pose a threat to public safety in Mexico and the United States.”

“This sentence sends a clear message: the Justice Department will be relentless in bringing to justice those responsible for smuggling illegal firearms and ammunition across our southern border,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “We will continue to take aggressive action to combat the gun violence that endangers law enforcement and devastates communities in both Mexico and the United States.”

“The Mexican drug cartels are a threat to the residents and communities of the Southern District of Texas, in part because of their access to illicit firearms and ammunition,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. “Olivares’ decision to hide almost 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the panels of a truck as he attempted to cross a bridge into Mexico will send him to a federal prison for over six years and is a cautionary tale for anyone else who feels compelled to follow in his footsteps.”

According to court documents, on Feb. 27, Olivares drove his black PT Cruiser to the Lincoln Juarez International Bridge on his way home to Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Authorities noted one of the vehicle’s doors seemed unusually heavy and rattled slightly, as if something was hidden in it. A subsequent search of all four of the vehicle’s door panels yielded a total of 5,680 live rounds of pistol ammunition in assorted calibers: 3,600 rounds of .40-caliber S&W; 900 rounds of .380-caliber; 900 rounds of .45-caliber; 100 rounds of 9mm; and 180 rounds of .38 SPL +P ammunition. Olivares admitted he had agreed to smuggle the ammunition into Mexico and had just received the ammunition a few hours prior. He personally hid the ammunition throughout the vehicle’s door and rear panels.

Olivares remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez for the Southern District of Texas prosecuted this case.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news Texas man headed back to prison after trying to export 5,680 rounds of ammunition following HSI BEST investigation Government Agency News